Because of you, Robert is enjoying a new life
Robert came from a family filled with lots of love. His mom and dad raised him in church and he was extremely close to his dad. But Robert was stubborn and didn’t
always listen. At 16, he began experimenting with drugs and alcohol.
“I wasn’t thinking about the consequences,” said Robert. “I never felt like I fit in. I wanted to be accepted by others, so I gave in to peer pressure. It started with smoking pot but over time led to using cocaine.”
Drugs became a controlling factor in Robert’s life. By the time he was 30, Robert was addicted to crack cocaine. While he was always able to maintain a job, his addiction destroyed three marriages and robbed him of over 40 years of his life.
“It was a constant battle,” said Robert. “I would hit rock bottom, go to a treatment center, go back home and stay clean for a while, then
relapse. It was a cycle that repeated
itself many times over.”
In July 2008, Robert reached an all-time low. He had run out of options and had nowhere to go. His sister Brenda, who is a supporter of the Nashville Rescue Mission, gave him the telephone number to the Mission and suggested he call.
“I’ll never forget the conversation I had with Fred, the Director of Programs, when I called the Mission,” said Robert. “I asked him what I needed to bring and he said ‘nothing but yourself and the desire to get clean.’ I was surprised they didn’t want my insurance card or any money. Who provides help like this for free?”
After Robert arrived at the Mission and discovered it was a homeless shelter, he wasn’t sure he wanted to stay. Then learning the Mission’s life-recovery program was over seven months long, he definitely didn’t want to stay. It just seemed too long. But without any other options, he decided he would stay for a little while.
“One thing that surprised me was that we didn’t spend a lot of time talking about addiction,” recalls Robert. “Instead, we learned to listen to God. Many nights I would wake up at 2:30 am and meditate on Psalm 51. I would talk to God and try to listen, but felt like I was missing something. I’d read and study the Bible, but for some reason I didn’t think God was hearing my prayers.”
“I thank God for doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself. When you seek God first, He’ll give you everything you need.”
Peeling Back the Layers
Once Robert decided to open up to his counselor and become transparent about what had happened to him, things began to change. He started to realize he’d been trying too hard and that it wasn’t about him doing the work, but it was about letting God work in him.
“My life completely changed,” says Robert. “Coming to the Mission took me away from all the distractions so I could finally hear God. My dad asked me what the program was like and I told him it was like being in seminary. I learned so much and am still learning and growing.”
Since graduating, God has opened a lot of doors for Robert. Initially, he stayed in the Mission’s transitional housing and helped with the construction of the Women’s campus. Upon its completion he worked in maintenance at the Mission. It was during this time he ran into someone who looked very familiar. Turns out he had just met Tia, the daughter of a former girlfriend from 30 years ago.
“Tia reintroduced me to her mom Deborah, and as soon as I saw her I realized I still loved her,” shares Robert. “We hugged and exchanged numbers. It took a while, but I finally got up the nerve to call her. We started dating and several months later I asked her to marry me.”
Plans for Hope and a Future
“When you consider all I’ve been through…I accidentally hung myself at seven, my dad accidentally shot me while we were hunting when I was 14, I’ve had two encounters with almost drowning and one seriously bad car accident, plus my struggle with addiction, it’s a wonder I’m still alive,” says Robert. “I’ve been told many times by many different people that God had a plan for my life. I didn’t believe that for a long time. But today, at 59, I know He has a plan for me. I’ve accepted a calling into ministry and life just keeps getting better.”
“I encountered the Lord at the Nashville Rescue Mission,” shares Robert. “I stopped being afraid to fail. I discovered how good a clean life can be. I’m learning how to be content. I’ve reestablished relationships with my father and my children. I’ve stopped running. I’m really enjoying my life. I’m fishing. I’m golfing. I’m doing things I never imagined…all thanks to the Mission introducing me to Jesus.”